Thursday, 4 July 2019

Copa America: Argentine FA condemns referee for 'serious errors' in defeat by Brazil

Jair Bolsonaro

The Argentine Football Association has complained to South American football's governing body over the "serious and gross refereeing errors" in their Copa America semi-final defeat by Brazil.

Tournament hosts Brazil made the final with a 2-0 win in Belo Horizonte.

The official complaint to Conmebol follows Lionel Messi's claims of "crazy officiating".

The Argentine FA also accuses Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro of making a "clear political demonstration".

AFA president Claudio Tapia sent a six-page letter to Conmebol in support of the team and captain Messi, who was particularly aggrieved his side were not awarded a penalty by Ecuadorian referee Roddy Zambrano before Brazil's second goal.

Speaking after the defeat, Barcelona forward Messi said: "The officiating was crazy. There were clear penalties, on [Nicolas] Otamendi, on Kun [Sergio Aguero].

"[The referee] was on their side. In every divided ball or dispute, he went their way."

Tapia said Zambrano "unjustifiably omitted the use of VAR in at least two specific moves that clearly influenced the final result of the match".

He also questioned whether "the principles of ethics, loyalty and transparency" had been observed during the match.

South American news outlet GloboEsporte reported that Bolsonaro's security team had attempted to block signals, which caused interference and communication failure with the VAR system.

However, the Brazilian local organising committee denied the presidential radio was the reason for the cut in communication with VAR, and said the problem was resolved before kick-off.

Far-right politician Bolsonaro - who performed "an Olympic lap of honour around the stadium at half-time" - was voted in as president last October. Tapia pointed to Fifa and Conmebol rules that "prohibit political demonstrations at a sports event".

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